Emerging from a fog of broken up bands and high hopes turned sour, Wayne Patrick has decided to finally do his own thing. Backing up guitarist and singer Patrick are long time friend and singer Caroline Francis and Bass Player poet Kurt Olson "I listened to a lot of Sinatra and Nat King Cole. I really like what Sondre Lerche is doing to," Patrick said. "I'm really into the dance feel and the jazz feel. My stuff isn't totally jazzy, but there are underlying elements of that in my songs." Patrick and Francis create lush harmonies reminiscent of the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and new age crooners Kings of Convenience.
Wayne Patrick - Guitar/Vocals, Caroline Francis - Vocals, Kurt Olson - Upright Bass
Sonic Valium, March 15,2008
Showmen by Luke Baumgarten
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He lured them here with Krispy Kreme, then asked them to dance. ...Wayne Patrick, playing last on...He lured them here with Krispy Kreme, then asked them to dance.
...Wayne Patrick, playing last on this odd R&B-meets-Indie-Rock bill, fared the exact opposite. Talking between songs — other than to rep his line of Wayne Patrick brand snap little bracelets — and certainly wasting no time with technical noodling, Patrick and his three-piece band plowed through a set of spry, pop-inflected indie. Though, like Ali, Patrick saved his mid-tempo cuts for the middle and end of his set, he had no problem keeping the crowd's attention.
A single person onstage captivating a crowd of any size is a feat few people can pull off. Todd Snider did it at the Bing Saturday night. Bob Dylan can do it. God knows Luther Vandross could, God rest 'im. But most people need help, even platinum-selling superstars inexplicably. Every rapper in the world has hype men. Madonna employs teams of dancers. Akon has to supplement his Top-40 hooks by dry humping pre-teens. For all but the greatest performers, the stage is a lonely-as-hell place, especially when no one's dancing.
Even something as small as getting bill-mate Wayne Patrick onstage for a single song had helped Ali win the crowd back by increments. Stalking the back of the stage, in a trilby hat, tapered jeans and a furrowed bluesman's brow — looking one part BB King, three parts Pete Doherty — Patrick's wheedling impressionistic guitar licks added a ton of dynamism.
That isn't to suggest Patrick is a better performer than Ali. They're really pretty similar. Both are great musically. Both have compelling voices. Both know the key performance tropes of their respective genres (though both use them sparingly). The difference is that, when Wayne Patrick isn't really doing anything, there are two other performers to fixate on. (Drummer Sam Stoner and bassist Aaron Schaber were both fun to watch Friday.) When Ali isn't doing anything, there's nothing to do but stare at that archaic-ass desktop computer whirring quietly on the floor and wonder if it has Minesweeper.
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Wayne Patrick is a hopeless romantic. That aint out of the ordinary for your average musician, but P...Wayne Patrick is a hopeless romantic. That aint out of the ordinary for your average musician, but Patrick extends the traditional rock 'n' roll flirtation with the intricacies of relationships into fascination. After a complicated recording process, the fruit of that obsession, his album Sonic Valium is ready for release. I spoke to the local songwriter (full disclosure: I've bummed smokes from the guy) about the Wayne Patrick story, the fragile nature of a man's ego, and the album itself.
The circumstances behind Sonic Valium are relatively simple, but require a bit of context. Wayne Patrick (née Patrick McHenry) spent some time among a few other local acts. Patrick laments, however, "You know how bands are — people leave, people move. I was in Paper Maché for a while, then they went on tour and I finished up school. I missed my old rock 'n' roll band, so we restarted Smile Line Spark for a while. That ended last summer, and I thought I'd try the Wayne Patrick thing. I'd been stagnating forever, so I wanted to get into second gear."
And so he grasped around for the clutch. Bouncing around from producer to producer with a full complement of songs, Sonic Valium eventually came to fruition with the aid of Joe Varela, JJ Ham, and Bill Nieman, each of whom had a hand in separate elements of the mix. The finished product is excellently balanced, with an overture of light, airy guitar pop set off by jazzier, darker undertones.
Vocally and lyrically, Patrick takes inspiration not only from the likes of Rufus Wainwright and Sondre Lerche, but the crooners who originally influenced them. Patrick's voice is warm and rich — a sort of sonic comfort food. The vibrancy of the vocals complements the character of the lyrics, which range from wistful to acidic. "Most of them are about screwed-up relationships," Patrick admits, "I've only had a few good ones. There's always one person who likes the other a little more, and they're usually the one who end[s] up hurt. But I still try to put a theme of hope in the songs. Maybe it's pathetic, but I guess I'm a dreamer."
"Monkeys" imagines Patrick in the midst of an ugly breakup, dreaming about swinging from trees with the object of his desire. It's effortlessly springy, the standout of the album. Patrick himself confesses to listening to it on repeat. Masturbatory, sure, but understandable. If the artist himself can't get sick of the song, who could?
Patrick's excitement for the release (being celebrated at a private event on Saturday) is palpable even on the phone. Explaining his writing process, he says, "It's almost a miracle that these words came together and made sense, [after] hiding in my subconscious." Water into wine would be an inaccurate comparison; Sonic Valium is a miracle more along the lines of childbirth. And even though Patrick's not the only proud parent in the waiting room, this one's his.
It took months of hard work, loss, and sometimes pain. But when it coos and smiles, it's all worth it.
Our set can last from 30 minutes to 2 hours if asked. We usually just play one set but can do multiple. We play most of the songs off my album with new songs intermixed and occasional covers placed in appropriate spots.
Here are some the songs.
Pins and Needles
She's the One I Want
Send Your Love
The Weight is Over
No One Ever Calls
"All My Loving", "Strawberry Fields Forever", "Across the Universe", "Hey Jude" - The Beatles
A Lack of Color - Death Cab for Cutie
Kid A - Radiohead
Strange Fruit - Billie Holiday
There are no upcoming dates at this time.